Back in July, after a group called the Center for Medical Progress started to release a series of videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials violating federal laws regarding the donation of fetal tissue for federal research, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte launched an investigation into the claims. The CMP’s claims have not been substantiated — six states have so far closed investigations into Planned Parenthood’s practices without finding any wrongdoing — but that hasn’t deterred Republicans in Congress from going full steam ahead in attacking Planned Parenthood anyway.
The House Judiciary Committee has announced the witnesses for its second hearing on Planned Parenthood (the Oversight Committee also held its own hearing interrogating Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards), and the list makes it pretty clear that Republicans have completely lost interest in the CMP’s original debunked claims and are now just going after Planned Parenthood and legal abortion in general.
The witnesses for Thursday’s hearing are progressive constitutional lawyer Caroline Frederickson, along with three outspoken anti-choice activists: Dr. Anthony Levatino, Susan Thayer and Luana Stoltenberg.
While committee Republicans invited to the last hearing two self-professed “abortion survivors,” Levatino, Thayer and Stoltenberg are all representatives of another favorite group within the anti-abortion movement – people who have experienced a “conversion” from being an abortion provider or patient to being an anti-choice activist.
Levatino is a former abortion provider who has since become an activist working with extreme anti-choice groups including Priests for Life and the Pro-Life Action League; Thayer is a former Iowa Planned Parenthood manager who has also become an anti-choice activist; and Luana Stoltenberg tells a story of getting pregnant as a teenager, becoming “very, very promiscuous” and having several abortions before converting to Christianity and becoming an anti-abortion activist.
These three activists may have interesting stories, but none is at all relevant to the question that the committee is supposedly investigating. Instead, the choice of these witnesses reveals yet again that House Republicans are using the smear on Planned Parenthood not to launch a genuine investigation, but to attack the very existence of legal abortion.
Rick Wiles returned to “The Jim Bakker Show” today to once again warn about the purported threat of gay marriage, this time telling Bakker that people may die because conservative Christians haven’t stood up and resisted the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality ruling.
Wiles, who hosts the End Times radio program “Trunews,” told Bakker that pastors have been silent in the face of several signs of the Last Days, including “hundreds of thousands of Christian schoolkids going to elementary school, putting their thumb on the scanner to get school lunch.” Bakker agreed, declaring that “it’s going to take a shaking, a vicious, hellish time to wake us up because we are going along with the systems, we are sheep going to the slaughter.”
The failure of conservative Christians to defy and overturn Supreme Court rulings on abortion rights and the separation of church and state, Wiles explained, “is how we got to June 26, 2015, and they changed marriage because they knew the Christians wouldn’t stand up because we gave them decades of being passive.”
“Now it’s going to cost us dearly, Jim, to stand up,” he said. “It’s going to cost us now. Somebody’s going to jail, somebody’s going to die, somebody’s going to suffer.”
Wiles continued: “I’m not advocating violence, but I’m saying, look at Kim Davis in Kentucky. The ruling elite of this country, there are two things that they will crush: They will crush anybody who tries to stop abortion and anybody who speaks against homosexuality, those are the two things they’ll crush. They came down on her, I mean, U.S. federal Marshals took that woman to jail in the United States of America and where’s the outrage?”
Michael Farris, the homeschooling activist and founder of Patrick Henry College, joined South Carolina pastor Kevin Boling on his “Knowing the Truth” radio program yesterday, where he claimed that Christians have entered a new “dark ages” of religious intolerance and “heresy trials” thanks to gay marriage.
Recalling the ideologically diverse coalition that worked to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993 (which included us at People for the American Way), Farris claimed that the “political left” has since abandoned religious freedom and freedom of speech, causing the coalition to fall apart. In fact, it was the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case that drastically reshaped the federal RFRA, turning it from a shield to protect religious liberty into a sword allowing people to impose their beliefs on others. Subsequent state-level versions of the bill, such as a law in Indiana that was quickly amended, have sought to even further expand the power of individuals and corporations to cite religious liberty in discriminating against others, especially LGBT people.
Farris claimed, however, that gay rights have brought American Christians back to a time “no better than the era of William and Mary’s Toleration Act” of 1688.
“In the intervening 20 years [since the passage of RFRA], because of increased secularization and especially because of the advance of the homosexual rights movement, particularly in the homosexual marriage arena, that coalition of across-the-board, left-right coalition that gave us the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has completely disintegrated,” he said. “The political left today no longer believes not only in religious freedom, but they don’t believe in freedom of speech, they don’t believe in freedom of association. They want to crush people that dissent.”
“And so we’ve really gone frankly to … no better than the era of William and Mary’s Toleration Act,” he said, “where if you didn’t differ too much from the Church of England, you could get away with some stuff but not too much. So that’s really the era that we’re living in.”
“We’re back to that,” he later added. “If ... Christian people differ on same-sex marriage there are what amount to heresy prosecutions. And so we have gone full circle, we’ve gone away from liberty and gone toward toleration, and with toleration comes persecution and heresy trials and we’re back to the dark ages before liberty in the United States. It’s very distressing.”
Later in the interview, Farris blasted the Obama administration for denying asylum to a family of German homeschoolers he was representing when “they’re willing to have the Muslims come here from Syria, they’re willing to have homosexuals who were persecuted in other countries come here.” (The German family was eventually allowed to stay in the country indefinitely.)
This led Farris to bring up contentions that President Obama is secretly a Muslim, which, he said, he wasn’t sure about either way.
“I don’t really know what his personal faith is, one way or the other, and it really almost doesn’t matter in this sense,” he said. “What I can see and what I can tell, and I’m not judging his heart, is that his political actions give favoritism to Muslims and his political actions punish Christians on a systematic basis, so that bias is very obvious.”
“We are at war on a religious freedom basis,” he added, “and the question is, are Christians going to stand up or are we just going to roll over on this one.”
Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, took issue with President Obama’s comment last week that the U.S. is “the only advanced country on Earth” that sees such a frequency of mass shootings, including the recent shooting that killed ten people in Oregon.
Pratt told Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday that Europe, where some countries have stricter gun laws than the U.S., is actually “the most bloody place in the world” because of the wars that took place there in the 20th century.
“What he’s not, and apparently very few people have really taken into consideration, is that Europe has been in the last 50, 60 years the most bloody place in the world, perhaps with the exception of Communist China and maybe Soviet Russia,” Pratt said. “But tens of millions of people have been killed in wars and in concentration camps and if you throw Soviet Union … into Europe, then we really are talking about Europe being just about on the top of the bloody list. And we’re supposed to pretend as if none of these things every happened.”
Pratt seemed to suggest that the U.S. has avoided such wars because of rampant gun ownership, saying, “Another aspect of this to consider is that we have not have rogue governments do what rogue governments did in Europe.”
But, he said, it is “not for want of trying” that the U.S. government hasn’t gone rogue, citing the 1946 Battle of Athens and the armed standoff at the Bundy ranch in Nevada.
Pratt and Kaufman also falsely suggested that Umpqua Community College, where the recent shooting took place, was a gun-free zone. Oregon law doesn’t allow public colleges to ban guns, and several students were carrying concealed weapons at the time of the shooting.
“Mr. President,” Pratt said, “you and your Democrat Party are the chief purveyors of gun-free zones. Repent!”
John Hagee was the guest on James Robison's television program again today, where the two men continued their discussion of the existence and influence of demons as Hagee recounted his very first experience with a woman who became demon-possessed after playing with tarot cards.
But all that demon talk was really just a precursor to the main point of the program, which was the importane of getting Christians to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
It is imperative that the church "rise up and correct this nation's course," Robison said, and Hagee agreed, declaring that Christians must "storm the voting booths and vote the Bible" in order to throw all the "pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage" politicians out of office.
"The Bible says when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. But the people of God have to stand up and speak up," Hagee said. "We, as salt and light, need to storm the voting booths and vote the Bible. Don't send some political hack to Washington who will continue doing the same old things of pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage, all of the things that are dragging this country down. Send someone that has a godly conviction, not what the speech they are writing or giving but by what their voting record says they are. And if they're not doing the righteous thing, send someone in their place to go. And if you can't find that one, run yourself! There is nothing wrong with you running."
With parts of North and South the Carolina experiencing devastating floods, former Rep. Michele Bachmann is weighing in by suggesting that the flooding is a sign of God’s wrath for President Obama’s foreign policy. “US turns its back on Israel, disasters following,” she wrote on Twitter:
US turns its back on Israel, disasters following http://t.co/1hYq8GAP7j— Michele Bachmann (@MicheleBachmann) October 4, 2015
This isn’t the first time the Tea Party icon has blamed natural disasters on President Obama’s foreign policy.
Back in April, Bachmann said, “If we actually turn our back on Israel, as we are seeing Barack Obama do today, if that happens then I think we will see a scale and a level of pushback in the United States, negative consequences. I don’t know what they are, but I believe that the Bible is true and I believe that what the Bible says is that our nation and the people of our nation will reap a whirlwind. We could see economic disasters, natural disasters. The United States does not want to be in that position and unfortunately the people put into office Barack Obama, not only once but twice, and the people have to rise up against his actions and demand their leaders take steps accordingly.”
Last week, Donald Trump said that he would “absolutely” bring his GOP rival Ben Carson on as part of his presidential administration if he were to win the 2016 election. Yesterday, Carson returned the compliment, telling Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg that he thought Trump “could bring some wisdom” to a Carson administration.
“I think Donald Trump is a very talented individual,” Carson said. “He certainly knows how to take advantage of situations, there’s no question about that, and I believe he could bring some wisdom somewhere along the line. I think there would be room for him somewhere.”
Carson wasn’t clear on what role Trump would fill with his wisdom, but suggested that perhaps the billionaire could act as a presidential adviser.
- Carlos Maza @ Equality Matters: Don’t Be Surprised That Kim Davis’ Pope Visit Was Overblown.
- Brandon Ambrosino @ The Daily Beast: The Shady Group That Played Pope Francis.
- Rob Boston @ Wall of Separation: The Sour Grapes Of Wrath: Tenn. County Politician Seeks To Stave Off God’s Vengeance Over Marriage Equality Ruling.
- Amanda Little @ Grist: From the Christian Coalition to climate change: One conservative activist’s story.
- David Edwards @ Raw Story: Mike Huckabee: Mass shootings are ‘not so much a gun problem… we have a problem with sin’.
- Anti-choice activists are organizing a "second round of public protests of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics and facilities [to] take place across the United States" on Saturday.
- The Pacific Justice Institute continues its long tradition of whipping up anti-transgender bigotry.
- Don Boys says that the solution to the problem of mass shootings in this country is quite obvious: "We need more guns in schools and society, not fewer!"
- Tony Perkins hails Mat Staver as a courageous legal scholar.
- Finally, Franklin Graham declares that gay marriage is "so wrong" that "God will judge our country for this."
Right-wing radio host Michael Savage suggested last week that the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon was a plot by President Obama to distract the public from the Syrian Civil War.
Savage also claimed that the community college shooter was almost certainly a Muslim, possibly tied to Al Qaeda and ISIS, but that the media would refuse to report such facts. He cited the fact that one of the Americans who thwarted a potential terrorist attack on a train in France hailed from the town in Oregon where the shooting took place as evidence that the shooter was likely a radical Islamist seeking revenge.
Of course, the deceased shooter was not a Muslim and actually identified as “not religious but spiritual” on his Spiritual Passions dating account, and seemed to have interest in the occult and white supremacy.
CNN reported that the shooter left writings which indicate that he “studied past mass shootings and identified with the perpetrators of those rampages. The shooter also expressed frustration at not having a girlfriend and being a virgin, the law enforcement officials say.”
GOP Congressman: Planned Parenthood Unnecessary Because 'As A Guy' I Have Plenty Of Options
9/29/15 @ 3:20pm
Mike Huckabee: Boycott Rainbow Doritos! But Chick-Fil-A Boycott Was 'Economic Terrorism'
10/5/15 @ 11:00am
Michele Bachmann: Carolina Flooding Is God's Wrath For U.S. Israel Policy
10/6/15 @ 10:30am
Michael Savage: Bernie Sanders Is A 'Liberal Weasel Jew' Who 'Hates America'
9/30/15 @ 3:15pm
The Vatican Contradicts Liberty Counsel's Claims About Kim Davis' Meeting With Pope Francis
10/2/15 @ 11:00am